The 37th edition of the Trinidad and Tobago International Marathon (TTIM) on Sunday 27th January started in the pre dawn hour for the walkers including the Trinidad and Tobago Olympic Committee (TTOC) and the Trinidad and Tobago Commonwealth Games Association (TTCGA) marathon walk group . The purpose of the marathon walk is to raise awareness and financial support for the TeamTTO (Team Trinidad and Tobago) #10golds24 athlete welfare and preparation fund.
On Sunday 183 runners and walkers started the journey to Whitehall Queens Park Savannah. The marathon is a mosiac of emotions. Each person enduring a journey that inevitably will be a personal pilgrimage. For the elite runners it may be a run for the money. But for the majority of the marathon field its a personal experience. For the TTOC marathon walk group its also a collective quest to appeal to the country as a whole to embrace the Olympic dream that many youth and young people embrace. The journey to the podium- the olympic podium historically has being more than a singular journey. Look carefully behind the glitz and glamour you will find a journey of perseverance. It takes perseverance to mount the Olympic and Commonwealth Games podium. It also requires funding and a dash of luck.
Trinidad and Tobago -as a nation- has benefitted from the joy of effort that resulted in an Olympic and Commonwealth Games podium.
The TTOC marathon walk is an ode to the Olympic journey undertaken by this country's Olympic athletes. How long will the TTOC be able to sustain the marathon walk? Who knows? For now its a challenge that more and more people seem willing to undertake. Many people readily admit they can't or will not undertake such a commitment as its easier simply to make a contribution.
This year is the Lima, Peru Pan AM Games, Next year is an Olympic year. Tokyo 2020. One can never accurately predict what the future will hold but within 24 hours of the completion of the 2019 TT International marathon. Many of the persons who proudly wore their TeamTTO #10golds24 jersey made a commitment to do the 2020 Trinidad and Tobago International marathon as part of the TTOC team.
Mention must be madeof thee TTOC/TTCGA marathon walk group - soon to be 70 years old- Richie Rahim. Ever since the TTOC marathon walk started in 2015 Richie as he is fondly called has led the charge to the Whitehall finish line. He continues to be a hard to peg back front runner for the TTOC #10golds24 marathon walk group. On Sunday Richie destroyed all comers reaching the finish line in 5 hours. 44 minutes. While for many who may pride themselves as competitive marathoners that may be a mediocre back of the pack time. For the TTOC marathon walk group sub 6 hours is the holy grail. Commander Don Polo of the Trinidad and Tobago Coast Guard is part of the TeamTTO #10golds24 marathon group. He however ran the marathon and did sub 4 hours.
Regardless of personal targets and objectives the bigger picture is playing a part in the process of supporting Trinidad and Tobago's Olympic aspirations.
There maybe easier ways to show that support but there is something about the pullof thee marathon challenge that is hard to explain.